John Thune by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), the Senate Republican Whip and ranking member of the Subcommittee on Taxation and Internal Revenue Service Oversight, this week introduced the Ensuring No Devices Bear Your Own Data (END BYOD) Act.

This bill will help protect sensitive taxpayer information from theft and leaks by prohibiting IRS employees, contractors, and volunteers from using personal computers or phones for official duties.

ATR applauds Senator Thune’s efforts to secure taxpayers’ personal information and urges all Senators to support this important piece of legislation.  

The bill’s current co-sponsors are Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.). 

IRS employees use personal devices to access taxpayer information through the IRS’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program. This bill will end the BYOD program, plugging a major source of leaks for taxpayers’ personal information. 

“It’s not enough that the IRS wants to take your money; they want all your personal information, too,” said Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform. “Senator Thune’s bill would make it harder for infiltrators, like former IRS contractor Charles Littlejohn, to leak taxpayers’ data to the press or sell it to scammers.” 

As ATR covered extensively, a former IRS contractor, Charles Littlejohn, has recently been sentenced to five years in federal prison for stealing a large quantity of private tax files and exposed the IRS’ failure to comply with the No TikTok on Government Devices Act

ATR also previously reported that the IRS BYOD program allows its agents to use their own devices at their discretion, causing major security issues:  

But the program has significant data security problems — including screenshot capability — that put personal taxpayer information at risk of leaks and theft.